With just a few days left until the Flyers leave for Toronto, they’ll have to cut a few players loose before then.
The Flyers will be heading out to Toronto on Sunday. That means they have just two days before they’ll need to drop down to 31 players. That’s the amount that Alain Vigneault has said the team will carry into the playoffs.
With 34 players currently in camp, they would normally only need three players to drop before then. But with Oskar Lindblom reportedly making the trip to Toronto, that number would go to four with his addition.
The decisions likely won’t be hard. But a big one will be determined based on the status of Carter Hart.
He was seen on the ice after Thursday’s scrimmage, leading everyone to believe it is indeed a minor issue that has caused him to miss the last two days of practice.
It doesn’t seem as if they’ll need to carry all four goaltenders with them. Unlike camp, the 31 players they’ll take with them to Toronto include goaltenders. That means Kirill Ustimenko is almost certainly the odd man out.
Alex Lyon has the NHL experience and has already been said to be the third goaltender they will be carrying. Ustimenko was given the chance to come to camp and practice with the team. But the three goaltenders ahead of him, the Flyers would have to run into serious issues for him to ever get in a game.
So leaving him behind would make more sense as carrying four goaltenders means they would have to drop another forward or defensemen from the list.
The other choices are likely obvious as well. During practice on Wednesday, a separate group of players took to the other ice. Andy Andreoff, German Rubtsov, Andy Welinski, Nate Prosser, and Egor Zamula were the players skating.
Rubtsov and Zamula have little to no NHL experience. Andreoff is the only other one to have appeared for the Flyers. The others have played in the NHL before, but not for Philly.
Three of them will likely make the trip. Zamula will probably be one of the odd men out. He’s fully healed from back surgery as he had been rehabbing in the area. But there isn’t a need to bring him along. Rubtsov may also not be taken into the playoffs as well.
The others are veterans in the league and give the Flyers some backup that has been there before. They are extremely unlikely to play during the playoffs. However, having players that have appeared in the NHL is the way to go.